In some ways Port is a most English drink – all tradition, endurance and establishment.
Port as we know it was born from the chronic Anglo-French scrapping of the 17th and 18th centuries. French imports of pretty much everything, including wine, were banned by Charles II in 1667. England needed a new source of wine. Our old friend Portugal was poised. The two nations had agreed mutually beneficial trading concessions back in 1386, and in the years since many English and Scottish merchants had set up in Portugal. Names such as Taylor’s, Warre’s, Cockburn’s, Campbell’s, Graham’s and Croft tell of this old association.
House style plays a part. Taylor’s vintage port is known for its refined power, Dow’s for its opulence, and Fonseca (a house with Portuguese roots, now part of the Taylor’s stable) for its rich fruit and exotic aromatics.